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Corpus Systématique Animale

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The relationship between ecology and the incidence of cooperative breeding in Australian birds

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  • Hugh A. Ford 1
  • Harry Bell 1
  • Ray Nias 1
  • Richard Noske 1
  • 1) Department of Zoology, University of New England, 2351, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Australia has many cooperatively breeding species of birds. These tend to occur in eucalypt and semi-arid woodlands rather than in rainforests or deserts. They tend to be insectivores that pursue rather than sit and wait for their prey, and tend to forage on the ground rather than above it. We propose that environments where resources do not show marked seasonal fluctuations are those in which cooperative breeding is most likely to evolve. Under these conditions birds might experience difficulty acquiring the extra food necessary to breed, especially if inexperienced. When adult survival was high, young and inexperienced birds could delay breeding. Unpredictable environments may also favor cooperative breeding, but our data do not strongly support this. Groupliving would be favored further if young birds are particularly vulnerable to predators when alone. They should therefore remain in the family group and delay their dispersal unitl a suitable breeding vacancy becomes available. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive, but are complementary. Both may be required to ensure that at least some year-old birds do not breed and also do not disperse. We believe that they give rise to predictions, which can be tested in future field studies.

Catégories Science-Metrix
  • 1 - health sciences
  • 2 - psychology & cognitive sciences
  • 3 - behavioral science & comparative psychology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Animal Science and Zoology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - zoology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - ecology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - behavioral sciences
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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

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